URGEHAL
"Ikonoklast"

(Season of Mist)

01. Stesolid Self-Destruction To Damnation
02. Dødelagt
03. Cut Their Tongue Shut Their Prayer
04. The Necessity Of Total Genocide
05. Kniven Rider Dypt I Natt
06. Astral Projection To Rabid Hell
07. Approaching Doom
08. Holocaust In Utopia
09. Sopor Necrosanctus

RATING: 7/10

Well, even hundreds of reviews later I still remembered that URGEHAL was a name that rung a bell as a quality black metal institution, and soon thereafter recalled 2006's "Goatcraft Torment" (released on Southern Lord Stateside) as an album about which I raved for its furious, muscle bound, and awfully darn memorable attributes in these very "pages." That album helped raise the act's profile on these shores, although probably not as much as deserved, considering that utterances of the name during discussions of Norwegian black metal outfits are a rarity. After all, URGEHAL has been in existence since 1992, which is really starting to seem like one hell of a long time ago.

The short and narrow of it then is that new album "Ikonoklast" is another good effort from the Norwegian fellows that go by the names of Enzifer ("Necrophiliaxe"), Trondr Nefas ("Demon Vocals & Lead Guitar Fuck"), Mannevond ("Bulldozer Bass & Backing Vocals"), and Uruz ("Drums from Hell"). You have no doubt surmised from those member names and associated instruments of Satan that URGEHAL lacks pretense and anything resembling the progressive, the unconventional, or the symphonic. "Ikonoklast" is however a sturdy collection of fat-riffed 'n propulsive, as well as comparatively varied, black metal numbers that does not disappoint in any genuine sense; it just doesn't set Bibles aflame and impale Priests with crucifixes the way that "Goatcraft Torment" did.

Subpar material URGEHAL does not record, so nothing to worry about there. You still get songwriting that is relatively more memorable than average ("Astral Projection to Rabid Hell" is a case in point) and arrangements that range from cutthroat 'n nasty to mid-tempo 'n chilling and variations of each in between. Periodically you will also hear a little CRAFT-style black metal groove (e.g. "Dødelagt") and some borderline black 'n roll (e.g. "Kniven Rider Dypt I Natt") with solid soloing and an unhealthy dose of eeriness throughout. It's good enough for me. Is it good enough for you?

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